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Spink County Deputy Rescues Man From Water

April 15, 2011, 5:58 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Spink County Deputy Rescues Man From Water
REDFIELD, SD - Friday morning's snow and ice made for some slippery roads. When you combine that with floodwater sitting in ditches along many roads, driving can be down right dangerous.

One Spink county man found that out first hand. His van slid into a water-filled ditch and he had to be rescued.

A call came in to the Spink County sheriff's office between 6 and 6:30 Friday morning of a van in deep floodwater and a man inside. A deputy got to the scene just in time.

By this afternoon, tow trucks were on scene to pull a van from a flooded slough near Redfield. It was just two people standing along side the road Friday morning when Deputy Andrew Rindelaubu arrived.

"I said, 'Is the driver out?' and they said, 'No.' And I looked off to my left, to the north and he was standing there, hanging outside of his vehicle, submerged under water," Rindelaubu said.

77-year-old Millard Roe was driving on Highway 212 when he hit some slush and lost control of the van, which didn't stop until it was in the slough.

Rindelaubu isn't sure how long Roe had been in the freezing water but it was long enough for his legs and feet to numb. The deputy, who's only been on the force three months, walked out as far as he could, swam the rest of the way and pulled Roe back to dry ground.

"The two people who were standing on the side of the road helped pull him up on the shore and then we put him in the patrol car, tried to get him warmed up," Rindelaubu said.

"We're all proud of Andrew and his response," Sheriff Kevin Schurch said.

And getting the 77-year-old man to the hospital in time, Sheriff Kevin Schurch is happy with the results of the response too. But he wants this to act as a warning.

A driver in Day County hit slush and landed in water Friday morning as well before getting out safely. And Schurch says the Spink County accident is the second vehicle in water already this month.

"It can happen and it has, so people need to have a plan and be aware and have a plan to get out of the vehicle in case they do become submerged in a vehicle crash," Schurch said.

Roe was treated for exposure. Rindelaubu was checked for hypothermia and released.

Even though the deputy who responded has only been on the force a few months, he was probably one of the more qualified for this call. He became lifeguard certified a few years ago.

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